The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has voted to establish a formal presence in Afghanistan, effectively acknowledging the Taliban government on the world stage for the first time — despite not mentioning the Taliban by name.
The UNSC resolution was passed Thursday, allowing the UN to continue "crucial" work in Afghanistan, Agence France-Presse reported.
Afghanistan was cut off from the international community after the Taliban quickly regained control of the country following President Joe Biden's full, unconditional — and deadly — withdrawal of U.S. armed forces.
The U.N. vote was 14-0 with one abstention by Russia, according to AFP.
"This new mandate for UNAMA [the UN mission to Afghanistan] is crucial not only to respond to the immediate humanitarian and economic crisis, but also to reach our overarching goal of peace and stability in Afghanistan," Norwegian UN Ambassador Mona Juul, whose country drafted the resolution, told AFP.
The U.N. has not recognized the Taliban envoy, nor does the resolution officially give the Taliban regime international recognition, but it does extend humanitarian, political, and human rights assistance, including for women, children and journalists.
"The council gives a clear message with this new mandate: UNAMA has a crucial role to play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and to support the Afghan people as they face unprecedented challenges and uncertainty," Juul added.
The security situation in Afghanistan reportedly has stabilized after the Taliban takeover Aug. 15, as the U.S. ended its longest continuous war in its history.
But the humanitarian crisis has deepened, as more than half of Afghanistan's 38 million people are facing hunger as winter drags on, according to AFP.
The U.N. made a call for $5 billion in humanitarian aid this January, the largest ever by the body for one country.
Among the top concerns for the international community is equity for women, particularly in the area of education. Now, the Taliban will allow girls around Afghanistan to return to class when high schools open next week, an education official said Thursday, after months of uncertainty over whether the group would allow full access to education for girls and women.
"All schools are going to open to all boys and girls," Aziz Ahmad Rayan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education, told Reuters.
"But there are some conditions for girls," he said, adding that female students would be taught separately from males and only by female teachers.
In some rural areas where there was a shortage of female teachers, he said that older male teachers would be allowed to teach girls.
"There is no school that will close for this year. If there is any school that closes, it is the responsibility of the education ministry to open it," Rayan added.
Information from Newsmax wire services AFP and Reuters was used in this report.
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